Salt grateful for England support after starring against Pakistan

By Sports Desk September 30, 2022

Phil Salt is "grateful for the backing" he has received after starring for England in their eight-wicket victory over Pakistan.

Having struggled in his previous five innings in England's seven-match T20I series, when managing just 59 runs, Salt hit a blistering 88 not out from 41 deliveries on Friday.

Salt reached a half-century in 19 balls – the third-fastest by an England player in the format – as the tourists levelled up the series at 3-3 in Lahore.

That set up a decider on Sunday, when Salt will have another chance to underline his credentials to retain his spot at the top of the order at the upcoming T20 World Cup.

"I'm very grateful for the backing I've got from my team-mates and the management. It's very clear the way they want me to play," the 26-year-old said.

"The way I play is aggressive and I want to win as many games as possible while I'm in an England shirt. 

"The first few games haven't gone to plan – I've been finding ways to get out, hitting fielders or whatever – but it's nice to come up with a performance like that in a big game.

“It's always a challenge at the top of the order when you feel like you're playing well but you're picking out fielders and finding ways to get out.

"It was definitely [my best T20 innings] and it was nice to do it with the series in the balance."

With Jos Buttler due to return from injury in time for the World Cup, Salt is realistically in competition with Alex Hales over partnering the white-ball skipper.

"You need competition. The best sides in the world have competition and you can't get away from that – it's the same in any sport," Salt added.

"Everyone is trying to put their best foot forwards and show the coaching team and the team-mates how good they are.

"I'm not looking too far into the future; I'm just focused on the next game in a couple of days' time."

Salt's destruction of the Pakistan attack came after home captain Babar Azam had hit an unbeaten 87 to set England a target of 170 for victory.

Babar became the first Pakistan batter to reach 3,000 T20I runs during his half-century, doing so in the absence of the rested Mohammad Rizwan.

He is the fifth men's player to reach that milestone in the format and the joint-quickest to do so alongside India great Virat Kohli.

Reflecting on what was ultimately a disappointing day for his side, however, Babar said: "After losing a couple of early wickets, we thought 170 was a good score. 

"Maybe we were 10 runs or so short, but the way Salt batted in the first four or five overs, they took the game away from us. 

"The way they used the powerplay was the turnaround today. I think the middle-order needs to step up, they need to take responsibility."

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